The Whitesburg City Council voted Tuesday night to authorize the filing of grant applications that would provide the initial $2.4 million needed to start rehabilitation work on the old Daniel Boone Hotel building.
The council’s vote came after Kentucky River Area Development District representative Annette Napier presented the funding package to the city. Napier said that she had met with offi- cials from the state Department of Local Government who had asked for a funding request from the city to stabilize the building and to make the first floor suitable for occupation by guests. Of the initial $2.4 million, $500,000 would come from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $1.5 million would come from a U.S. Economic Development Administration POWER Initiative grant administered by the ARC. The additional $400,000 will be sought from other sources. (POWER is the acronym for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization.)
Mayor James W. Craft told the council that he, city engineer Paul Nesbitt, and Whitesburg architect Bill Richardson met with the Department for Local Government recently and had emerged from the meeting feeling confident about the hotel project moving forward. Craft said the proposal to repair Main Street’s largest building was very well received.
“Everybody in the room was on board with us getting it,” said Craft. “I feel very good about the project.”
In other business at its August meeting, the council voted to keep the city’s tax rate at $.34 per $100 for real property for the next year. The council approved the first reading of an ordinance setting the tax rate for the upcoming tax year after Craft recommended keeping the rate at its current level, which he said is the same rate as in 2007. The second reading of the ordinance will be held at the next council meeting. A vote to give final approval will then be taken.
The council also voted to pass a resolution that allows the city to file an application to secure funding from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for over $4 million for upgrades to the city water treatment plant and the water system. Nesbitt told the council it had already paid for the design phase of the project out of the city’s water fund, which was necessary to apply for the KIA grant, and that amount will be credited to the city. Council Member Earlene Cornett read the resolution.
Water Maintenance Manager Chris Caudill said the Craft’s Colly/Dry Fork sewer line extension, which was coordinated with the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, will add 88 new sewer customers when the lines are turned over to the city.
Caudill also said that sewer lines are being extended from the state highway garage at Mayking to the city system with a four-inch line for future use running alongside the two-inch line that will serve the garage. Caudill said he hopes the lines will eventually serve 143 households. Craft said the project is being paid for by the state.
Caudill also told the council that he is planning a “Glow in the Pond” kayak float, modeled on one that was recently held at Pound Lake, in which kayakers decorate their boats with lights for a night ride. The event will be held on September 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Fishpond Lake. Prizes will be given for best boat.